NASA Official Fleet Management Handbook

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are contractor's allowed to use government vehicles?

A. Yes. GSA and NASA- owned vehicles have often been provided to contractors under cost reimbursable and fixed priced contracts, although this practice is now discouraged. Refer to paragraphs 1.3.5, 1.3.6, 3.4.1 and 11.0 for complete details.

Q. Can my family ride in my government vehicle while on TDY?

A. The Comptroller General has ruled that agencies have the discretion to determine on a case by case basis if it is in the Government’s best interest, e.g., morale purposes, to permit dependents to accompany employees in Government vehicles otherwise used for official business. Refer to published decisions 57 Comp. Gen. 266(1978) and 68 Comp. Gen. 186 (1989) for more details.

Q. Why must I drive an alternative fueled vehicle?

A. America is trying to reduce its dependence on foreign petroleum imports. There are statutory requirements outlined in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and Executive Order 13149. See NASA Handbook para. 5.2.3 and chapter 6.

Q. When are vehicles due for replacement?

A. For GSA vehicles, GSA has minimum replacement standards addressed in the Federal Property Management Regulation Section 102-34.280 which can be accessed at www.gsa.gov. NASA-owned vehicles should be replaced when they are no longer economical to maintain. Individual Centers are encouraged to use a Life Cycle Costing Analysis to establish general life expectancy in years and miles for each vehicle type.

Q. Who can drive and/or ride in a Government vehicle?

A. Government employees and contractors may operate government vehicles when conducting official government business in support of NASA functions or activities. Refer to Official Use of Vehicles, paragraph 3.1 through 3.10.

Q. Does the Govt. provide insurance coverage for the driver and passengers?

A. Yes. For government employees, the government is self-insured, negating the need for further insurance. Contractors must be properly insured for vehicles operated in connection with the applicable contract. See paragraph 11.4 and the Drivers and Operator’s section of the NASA Handbook.

Q. What is the difference between an “accident” and an “incident”?

A. An “accident” is an event that causes damage to a vehicle while being operated by a driver, regardless of who was at fault. It may involve a single vehicle or multiple vehicles. An “incident” is an event that causes damage to a vehicle while it is not being operated and may result from contact by another vehicle, acts of nature, vandalism, or unknown causes.

Q. Who does the driver call when the Govt. vehicle breaks down after hours or on weekends in a desolate location?

A. The Center Transportation Officer must ensure drivers are provided with emergency contact information in the event of break downs in any location. This information should be provided in the glove box of every vehicle. Refer to paragraph 7.9.3 and 7.9.4 for information on both NASA and GSA vehicles.

Q. How often are customers allowed to have the vehicle cleaned and charge it to the Voyager card?

A. This depends on whether it is a GSA vehicle or NASA-owned vehicle. For GSA vehicles, standard policy (unwritten) is to obtain a basic car wash ($10 limit) no more than twice monthly using the Voyager Card. For NASA-owned vehicles, the Transportation Officer can establish standards depending on local environmental conditions and needs. A standard maximum of twice monthly is suggested.

Q. Can I, as the vehicle, user purchase parts at an auto parts place and install the part myself? (such as batteries, windshield wipers, etc.)

A. Generally, no. Exceptions may be allowed in unusual circumstances but drivers should coordinate directly with the Transportation Officer to determine the extent of operator maintenance that can be accomplished. Refer to paragraph 7.1.

Q. Can contractor employees drive GSA vehicles assigned to NASA?

A. Yes. Contractors have been authorized to operate GSA vehicles assigned to NASA in the performance of contracts and with the approval of GSA. NASA policy is to discontinue this practice where possible. Refer to paragraph 1.3.5 and 1.3.6.

Q. Why does it take so long from the time a new vehicle request is submitted to receipt of the vehicle?

A. GSA does not normally maintain a pool of vehicles for issue. Therefore they have to be ordered during GSA’s normal replacement cycle which begins October of each year. Refer to the chart noted in paragraph

Q. What is the purpose of a Vehicle Utilization Review Board (VURB)?

A. The VURB is responsible for monitoring the size and utilization of the Center’s fleet and making recommendations for changes concerning vehicle assignments and allocations to all organizations within the Center.

Q. Are civil servants authorized to checkout a vehicle from the Motor Pool if they have travel orders?

A. Yes. The Federal Travel Regulation, paragraph 301-10.220, states the following: “You must possess a valid State, District of Columbia, or territorial motor vehicle operator’s license and have a travel authorization specifically authorizing the use of a Government-furnished automobile” if travel is away from the employee’s official duty station.

Q. Are Contractors allowed to place NASA decals on their own vehicles?

A. Yes. Contractor-owned vehicles operating primarily within the confines of a Center may display the NASA decal, but should also be placarded with the Contractors name and logo or other signs or as specified in contracts. See paragraph 11.3.

Q. Why did we get rid of the 15 passenger van?

A. The rollover risk “increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases to full capacity” and is “about five times greater than when the vehicle contains only a driver”. See http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov for NHTSA 25-04 June 1, 2004 report. Refer to paragraph 4.5.16 of the Handbook.

Q. What is the process for purchasing emergency vehicles ASAP?

A. If an emergency requirement exists, the CTO should take the following steps:

  1. Try to locate an existing GSA or NASA-owned asset that may be available for transfer or reassignment (be sure to contact all other NASA Centers);

  2. Obtain a commercial rental or lease vehicle to temporarily fulfill the need until a normal purchase can be made;

  3. Contract for the service or arrange for the existing contractor to secure the asset where economically feasible;

  4. In rare circumstances, it may be appropriate to initiate the process of purchasing a “stock” vehicle from a local dealer’s inventory.


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Last Updated:08/23/2005 11:23 AM